Amazon Eyes Video With New Echo Show and Fire TV Recast

Amazon announced plans last week to introduce a range of new devices intended for the automotive, home security, and premium audio markets. The Seattle-based tech giant also unveiled updated versions of its Echo Plus, Dot and Show smart speakers as well as other Alexa-powered devices including a wall clock and microwave oven. In addition to more than a dozen new voice-powered products, the company revealed the Fire TV Recast that enables consumers to view and record live television via a connected digital antenna. The content can be streamed inside and outside the user’s home. Continue reading Amazon Eyes Video With New Echo Show and Fire TV Recast

Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who co-founded Instagram in 2010 and sold the app to Facebook two years later for $1 billion, announced in a blog post that they would be leaving the company. The two men were responsible for shaping the culture and products of Instagram — Systrom serving as CEO and product visionary, and CTO Krieger actively running the engineering team. They built the company to over a thousand employees and the user community to more than one billion. “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” wrote Systrom. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.” Continue reading Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is acquiring online music service Pandora Media in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal. The deal should help John Malone’s SiriusXM reach beyond its current audience that most commonly listens while driving, and better compete with Spotify. The satellite radio operator paid $480 million last year for a 19 percent stake in Pandora when it started losing subscribers to streaming services. Billionaire Malone has been expanding his radio empire; in addition to the Pandora deal, his Liberty Media has expressed interest in iHeartMedia. Continue reading Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

Disney Tops a Million Subscribers for Streaming ESPN Service

Disney announced that its new ESPN+ streaming-only service, which launched five months ago in April, has already reached the milestone of more than one million paying subscribers. While it does not carry live streams from ESPN’s television channels, the $4.99-per-month streaming service offers original studio programming and sports content including MLB and NHL games, college football and international soccer matches, in addition to Top Rank Boxing and UFC mixed martial arts. Continue reading Disney Tops a Million Subscribers for Streaming ESPN Service

Hybrid Cloud Becoming an Effective Tool for Media Analytics

The public cloud is significantly impacting media by moving information technology into a world of utility where compute and storage are available as needed — easy to implement and decommission. It provides a flexible infrastructure for a media-centric world increasingly based on analytics where experimentation is the foundation of digital transformation. The media industry is changing — from the way content is produced and managed to the methods used to protect, optimize, distribute and analyze that content. These changes to the value chain have created enormous pressures (and opportunities) for creative professionals. Continue reading Hybrid Cloud Becoming an Effective Tool for Media Analytics

California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

The California State Legislature recently passed a bill called “Information Privacy: Connected Devices” that creates regulations for IoT devices sold in the United States. SB-327, which applies to all devices that connect to the Internet and include an Internet Protocol or Bluetooth address, would require that security audits be conducted on components purchased overseas. The bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. and has been forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. While some have criticized the bill for not being specific or thorough enough, it could place pressure on manufacturers to offer better device-level protection against cyberattacks. Continue reading California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

Nielsen Updates its Social Ratings to Measure Owned Content

Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings service — which measures the impact of television programming across social platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — has been updated to include Owned Content Performance for helping television networks better understand social impact and optimize social strategies. During August, Nielsen examined more than 142,000 TV-related posts and tweets from accounts owned by or affiliated with networks, programs and talent handles, and discovered that images and video outperformed text in terms of engagement. Continue reading Nielsen Updates its Social Ratings to Measure Owned Content

Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Netflix launched its Post Technology Alliance logo program last week, with plans to certify post-production products and systems from manufacturers and vendors that meet the streaming service’s technical and content delivery specs. “The Post Technology Alliance will build a more seamless experience from production through post-production,” said Chris Fetner, Netflix director of post partnerships and integrations, noting that certified vendors are “committed to better interoperability and faster innovation cycles.” Adobe, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Panasonic, RED Digital Cinema and Sony are among those with products already certified. Continue reading Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Our Stories: Snapchat Turns to Publishers to Boost Revenue

In an effort to grow its stalled user base and generate more revenue, Snap Inc. announced it will encourage 20 publishing partners such as CNN, Cosmopolitan, NBC News and Viacom to create curated collections of user posts called Our Stories. Each collection of snaps will center on a specific event and will be made available via Snapchat’s Discover section. Snap has been generating revenue through ad sales by curating Our Stories for events such as concerts, awards shows and sports. While these have been curated by Snapchat employees, Snap is now asking media companies to build the collections. Continue reading Our Stories: Snapchat Turns to Publishers to Boost Revenue

Apple Unveils Three New iPhones and Series 4 Watch Lineup

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company execs unveiled three new iPhones and a redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 in Cupertino yesterday. Bigger and faster was the underlying theme for the new devices. The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099 and features a 6.5-inch screen (Apple’s largest to date). As expected, the entry-level iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD screen and the premium iPhone XS includes a 5.8-inch display. Both XS models feature a Super Retina OLED screen and stainless steel casing (the XR is made of aluminum). Meanwhile, Apple Watch is evolving into a health-related wearable. The new smartwatch touts an ECG heart sensor approved by the FDA. Continue reading Apple Unveils Three New iPhones and Series 4 Watch Lineup

Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

Georgia-based TickBox TV has agreed to end all piracy-related activities and pay $25 million in damages to Hollywood studios and streaming services that had accused the set-top box manufacturer of copyright infringement. Major film and television companies filed a proposal yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for a permanent injunction against TickBox to prevent pirated movies and TV shows from being streamed to consumer televisions via the STB. The decision is the first legal win for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a coalition of entertainment companies and studios formed to combat piracy. Continue reading Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

Apple Working on Portal for Law Enforcement Data Requests

According to a recent letter from Apple general counsel Kate Adams to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Apple has plans to develop an online portal this year that would assist law enforcement in requesting user data in addition to educating police about the type of data that would be available for request. While the iPhone maker has provided user data to law enforcement in the past, including data stored in its iCloud, the company has sparred with law enforcement and government agencies regarding the encryption of its CE devices. Continue reading Apple Working on Portal for Law Enforcement Data Requests

Survey Finds That Smart Speakers Are Gaining in Popularity

A new Adobe Analytics survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers has found that voice assistants and smart speakers are becoming increasingly popular. Adobe predicts that following the next holiday season, almost half of U.S. consumers will own a smart speaker. The market has grown about 15 percent in less than one year; more than 32 percent of consumers now own a smart speaker. People are most commonly using such tech to play music, check weather forecasts, set alarms/reminders as well as obtain directions, check sports scores and traffic, and ask fun questions. Continue reading Survey Finds That Smart Speakers Are Gaining in Popularity

Instagram Eyes E-Commerce With Standalone Shopping App

Facebook’s photo- and video-sharing service Instagram is reportedly developing a standalone app designed specifically for shopping. The app, possibly to be named IG Shopping, is expected to help users browse products from merchants and businesses and then make purchases directly within the app. The Verge initially broke the news based on information from sources familiar with the matter, but Instagram has yet to confirm the app or a potential launch date. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, over 25 million businesses presently have Instagram accounts, 2 million of which are advertisers. Continue reading Instagram Eyes E-Commerce With Standalone Shopping App

EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota. Continue reading EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

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